Basic Number Rules Exercise (23)
All but one of the following sentences demonstrate incorrect style for numbers according to The Chicago Manual of Style; revise the style of the number as necessary:
Answers and Explanations
Guidelines about styling numbers are complex, with exceptions for technical usage, large numbers, physical quantities, percentages and decimal fractions, money, times and dates, and so on, but the basic recommendations are simple.
Original: Last year, 37 aircraft were retired from the fleet.
Correct : Last year, thirty-seven aircraft were retired from the fleet.
With some exceptions, numbers above one hundred should be in numeral form, and those below one hundred should be spelled out.
Original: The first time the class was offered, 245 students registered for seven sections, and 38 were put on a waiting list.
Correct : The first time the class was offered, 245 students registered for seven sections, and 38 were put on a waiting list.
When listing numbers referring to the same thing or category of things (such as students, as in this example), use a consistent numeral style, but unrelated numbers should follow the basic style: This sentence is correct.
Original: 157 cars were sold on the first day of the sale.
Correct : One hundred fifty-seven cars were sold on the first day of the sale.
Numerals should not begin a sentence; spell the number out, or recast the sentence (e.g., "On the first day of the sale, 157 cars were sold."). Note that and should not separate the place values in a spelled-out number.
Original: "Myriad" means "many," but it also is specifically equivalent to 10,000.
Correct : "Myriad" means "many," but it also is specifically equivalent to ten thousand.
In nontechnical contexts, and in the absence of precise numbers of more than two digits, format round numbers of three or more digits as words
Original: One-hundred twenty-eight books are missing.
Correct : One hundred twenty-eight books are missing.
Hyphenate only the words for the tens and ones places.